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>> thank you so much for coming. [applause] [applause] >> booktv is on facebook. like us and interact with guests and viewers and get up-to-date information on events. ..
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>> the dark side of the personal finance industry tonight at 10:00 on after words on c-span2. and look for more book tv online like us on facebook. >> next on book tv, barbara matters seldom editor of scooped recounts the life and career of her late husband, a pulitzer prize-winning reporter jack nelson who died in 2009 at the age of 80. been joined by former president jimmy carter, former mayor of atlanta and u.s. ambassador to the united nations andrew young and former justice department spokesman terry adamson in the discussion of jack nelson's memoir, scoop. the evolution of a seven reporter. it is about an hour. >> good evening, everyone.
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it's good to have everyone here. my name is sink, and i will be moderating this wonderful panel tonight. and the director of the journalism program at emory. and co-author of a book about news coverage of the civil-rights movement, featured jack quite prominently. first of all, i want to thank the carter library and museum for hosting this one and for cosponsoring it and also the emory university libraries, particularly the manuscript archives and rare books librarian which houses and in the papers and the wisdom of a great number of seven journalists. white, african-american, all sorts -- we are so pleased that five of those opulence a prizewinners'. the latest among them is jack nelson. barbara was so generous and has
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made jackson papers our position now. there is a rich, rich history, and ensure it -- encourage everyone to take a look. we are here to celebrate the life and more, the papers of jack nelson with some people who knew him extremely well. jack was a man of enormous influence in consequence in the nation. the story of jack nelson, for those who don't know, the story of news reporting and the latter half of the 20th century. if you look at this career starting off -- he was born in telling the of just across the state line to moves as a child to biloxi where he starts pedaling newspapers. he was a newspaper boy. an honorable way to begin. it's so i got my start. he gets his first john upton at the daily "herald", an afternoon newspaper down and bollocks to gulfport purely serendipitously
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where i got my start. he portrays himself quite openly and but as a very gullible reporters. i certainly hope that when you bought the book and have had a chance to look at the you will be as entertaining as we were by some of his early stories of falling for ruses and having great faith that everyone was telling him the truth, as you find out later they weren't always telling the truth. of course, he then begins to develop a reputation that is very tough, hard-nosed investigative reporter which could soon be applicable * and sense and fleeing to the atlanta constitution where he continued to get be about. he did some just break through investigative reporter that we will hear about tonight. beyond that he was just terrific, shoot. he was just a great reporter. it's easy to overemphasize just that it was investigated. his career was also above
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standing for the first amendment he worked with a number of organizations to help create a number of organizations that to this day are still quite prominent. the reporters committee for freedom of the press. the student press law center from all of which have jackson print on the. i want to say one last thing here, and then we're going to start talking to tell a little story. as many as you know, atlanta in the world lost a great attitude this week passed away down in st. pete. gene had been the editor of the atlanta constitution when jack was here. gene once told the story about jack being a reporter and a celebrated report whinging got a call from the publishers of the los angeles times. mr. chandler said, gene, i'm thinking that the los angeles times wants to set up shop in atlanta. you have a big story bring there
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in the south. the civil-rights story in the emerging south. onion report to staff that bureau in atlanta for the los angeles times. you have any good reporters? and jean says, you know, we have tons of reporters. he started listing all these reporters. he purposely left off the name of jack nelson. he was not about to give him up. a week later he hired jack nelson. did the los angeles times. he did great work here in atlanta. he brought investigative reporting to the civil rights story, which was elevated to an all new level. moves to washington, head of the washington bureau. now, the l.a. times did not have a great in print and washington until jack got there. i'm not saying it had none. it didn't have anything like what it would have afterwards. when he got there at 17
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reporters. when he retired at 57. so i called the washington bureau of the los angeles times the house that jack built. i am going to turn now to our wonderful guest. we have barbara madison demint jack's wife, who took on completion of scoop. it was about 80% done. the land apart, the seventh part was pretty much done, and she finished it. she polished it. she turned it into a spectacular read. everyone here knows jimmy carter, former state senator. [laughter] you know, all they have wondered, am i going to really try this one? [laughter] president carter new jack throughout his career and certainly if you did not tell him directly, he knew his work. if i might just take a moment to point out that we have been joined -- i hope i don't embarrass you -- by mrs. carter. it's good to have your tonight.
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[applause] and ambassador andrew young who is certainly part of the movement that jack covered, you know, the subject of stories that jack would have written as ambassador to the u.n. jack would have covered him as certainly as mayor of atlanta jack got to know him. and it is a real honor to have year as well, ambassador. [applause] and terry adamson he worked at the atlanta constitution, not at the same time as jack, get to know him later. get to know him extremely well. terry is an emory graduate. the editor of the emery wheel, which we at emory are very proud of. went on to a number of different jobs, including working in the justice department of the carter of an assertion as special assistant to attorney general griffin bell.
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then as spokesman and now executive editor of national geographic. it's a real pleasure to have you back. [applause] so i'm going to start with barbara. just because i think one her to tell us, what is it like? what is it like? and this is a moment that may be others we know have faced. when jack died in you are faced with all of his papers and you're starting to go through them, what kind of an emotional experience is that? and i'll end it there. tell us about the experience of going through jack's papers. >> i must say, and while friend. [applause] and also to say how pleased i am
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at jack's papers are here at emory. this is really where they belong. you may not know it, but emery has an astounding collection. but the curator here pursued jack with a special field because they made as of specialty out of seven journalists. they have quite a distinguished roster. starting with ralph mcgill, the great. [indiscernible] can we do this. restart. marshall friday. many of you nestle listing. so i'm very, very proud that tax papers are here, as i said, where they belong. now to return to his question, actually, initially i had a very negative approach. it did not start out very well.
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when jack retired he came back. he brought home with them about 20 boxes of the biggest mess you ever saw. jack was not just organized. he was opposed to this organization. anyway, i started out to help him sort the papers. and so i have bought all these file boxes. about folders and everything. the pick of the paper and sick and the way you think this one goes? the atlanta constitution or the marvin griffin administration. he was sick and give me that and start reading it. he read every piece of paper. he could not part with a single one. after today's idea of. okay. it's all yours. the second reason i had a negative impression was that they brought silver fish into the house. [laughter] so after he died in that a side that, you know, his memoir needed to be completed.
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it was a wonderful read. an important book. i knew that meant attacking his papers. i could not do it any other way. and so with a very heavy heart i got started going through them. to my astonishment in i found -- was finding these pearls, these gems. you know, articles he had written, articles about him tomorrow mr. riis, speeches that he gave which were really a mother lode of permission. i began to see that it was really going to be possible to fill in the soles. not only possible, but pleasurable. it became like a treasure hunt. i compare it to a jigsaw puzzle. it is down to the last pieces. you see that they're going to fit. so it really was an enjoyable experience. but, you know, the deeper i got
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into his papers the more i learned about him. i didn't think that was possible. like most wives of the new everything about my husband. but i really didn't know about in the days when he was covering the south. he was married to somebody else of that time. but as i say, i learned a lot by reading all these things. one of the things i learned was the toll that is brilliant career took on his family. his kids and grandkids are all sitting out there. i think they could tell you better than i. his daughter told me one time that he had been gone so long that they put a big sign on the wall that said welcome on daddy. there were constant telephone threats, constant interruptions.
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practically went on without the telephone ringing. sometimes tips the send him out into the night again. there was a serious episode after he broke the story of the police protective lottery. and the fire engines come screaming up to the house in the middle of the night. one time police with drawn guns started to approach the house saying they had heard reports he had murdered his wife. so there were lots of things that must have been very difficult. another thing that surprised me, shocked me really was the patients he displayed as an investigative reporter. he was the world's most impatient person. i mean, from my point of view he was. his granddaughter was supposed to be driving up from florida today. i guess stuck in traffic
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somewhere said to me one time, i don't know how you stay married. he so impatient. it was totally different when he was on the job. investigative reporting requires enormous amounts of patients. and jack a onetime took two years to track down all watering. when he finally found -- he was looking visibly for the operation. when he finally found a neighborhood he went toward the door knocking on doors until a woman told them there was an auto repair shop next door without too much of a repair going on and a lot of cops coming back and forth. >> that is on hello mill road. >> is that right? >> i think it's in the book. >> i think you're right. and then he proceeded to spend 11 days. not very far, does looking down over this supposedly on a repair shop. he spent 11 days of their
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document in the whole thing watching the cubs coming go, take money when jack finn @booktv jack and tested it was reported. it took patience. kind of stunned me. i knew that he was tough and tenacious, but i actually did not really understand the scope of his reporting, particularly in his days as a corruption buster, you might say as the atlanta constitution -- atlanta constitution. i want to redo of the list of some of the scandals that broke. expos is an illegal gambling part. police protective whorehouses, election fraud and a truck stop models, marriage mills and south georgia, state payroll padding, embezzlement of tax funds, use of convicts for private work, nepotism, purchasing schemes such as the time the state brought a bunch of boats with
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the bottoms for lakes with the waters. i could go one. many of these expos dais took place during the griffin administration which president carter can well a test was notoriously corrupt. i think it was in the reader's digest, never had so many stolen so much. but marvin griffin was kind of a forgiving sort of kirk. he -- quite a few years later he and jack and some other reporters were sitting around drinking. marvin griffin said to jack, you know, what i used to think every time i would see you walking into a press conference with a notebook. jack said, what? and he said, i used to think and i wonder what that bsn of a bitch as of midday. [laughter]
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jack left the constitution in 1965 tab pursue the civil rights story for the l.a. times. and he was always -- i think we have to watch our time, so i'm just going to -- just going to end by saying how happy i am that this book is published because he had such a wonderful career in washington, it tended to overshadow, i think, the earlier phase of his career here in the south. this book, although it is halfway through his career, does not cover his career in washington except in an epilogue i think it helps cement his reputation. hanks co-author, gene roberts, called jack one of the most important journalists in the 20th-century. and i think that maybe this story of his life and his career helps cement that place in history. >> very nice. very nice. [applause]
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so, president carter, given jacks reputation, were you ever afraid of him? [laughter] tell us about your experiences with and, if you would please. >> well, i think all of these remarkable advance i described in the book. and i hope that how many of you have read the book did? come many of you are going to read it? don't forget that. abcaeight. i knew jack when i was just a peanut farmer in south georgia and had no interest in politics all. when he came to the atlanta constitution, my first cousin was the city editor of the atlanta journal. they were kind of in competition with each other. but everybody in georgia began to know jack nelson as one of the most incisive and aggressive and aggravating people who ever lived here. i can say all the epitaphs i heard described jack. i think the most present was present.
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and that has a connotation of somebody that is always borrowing in where they ought not to be and dispose -- disclosing things that ought not to be disclosed to decent people. so jack would do that, and he would do it with incredible success. and sometimes on their the unbelievable danger for himself. the first time i think he ever came to georgia he was inducted into -- he went into the national guard and was inducted to go to the korean war, and i was the first time began to georgia. he went down the force toward georgia and became ultimately a staff sergeant. he read the book you will find out that he never learned had issued a rifle. he never had any basic training and all, and he was promoted far above any of the other people that came with him from biloxi to the army. and he did that because he was a reporter and he was an expert at publicizing his commanding officers great exploits. and he did it by becoming
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friends with all of the editors of newspapers up and down the coast from savannah down to florida. and so he agrees seated himself there. finally he went back over to the lexicon of mississippi. but at the time he was asked to work for the atlanta constitution. you never get back to mississippi, but he stayed. that is how he first got here. and he was given a crash course in how so loaded should a rifle. the last week he was in the army to so they could get rid of him. so -- but he would get involved in the most exciting and dangerous events in the community. and at that time there was practically no legitimacy in the georgia political system. it was shot through with absolute corruption. it was when most of georgia was so-called wet. so-called dry. you could not buy liquor in most
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of the counties, but every county had plentiful liquor supplies. the sheriff and of his deputies and so forth supported and protected the liquor dealers. we had that in my county as well. jack will find out about these ongoing crimes as well as prostitution and other things like bribery. he would investigate and find out a few people that would give him information, and he would certify that the information was accurate and provable in court and then he would bring it to the attention of the public. so vividly that the law enforcement officials at the state level somewhere would have to go down and do something about it. and when he got to atlanta because the and allstate as kind of a target. he would single out individual places to shoot and kill when there and find out. it would expose those
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embarrassing things that were not embarrassing until jack told . the same thing happened in the case of voting fraud. one of the cases this happened, like the home of a gene and his son. became very famous. went into that county and exposed tucker of there. and i think about 15 people were indicted and never -- the names are never revealed, but there were indicted by the grand jury. another thing that happened was at that time in 1962 when jack had been active on the constitution i decided to run for state senate. that's how i became famous. [laughter] distinguished, nobel prize winners like jack cover your. a state senator. but the election was stolen from me.
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indicted not know jack nelson personally then, but my cousin had been the editor of the atlanta journal. he said the competitor, he was the other investigative reporter from the afternoon paper, the atlanta journal down to help me, and i was eventually becoming a state senator because of that. at the jack always resented that i did not call on him to help me instead of having jack pennington do it. but then i knew jack pretty well. at the time when i knew jackie was not in the forefront of reporting and the civil-rights issue. he was basically finding out crooks in georgia, even at the top level of government and exposing in such a way that their degradation to the people of georgia were corrected. and that is what he did. he concentrated on those individual things. the people in georgia would no that if they had experience in their own community have someone that was cheating or violating
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basic principles of human rights, they could contact. they could not call their own state police or their own shares in the county. they could call jack nelson and he could take care of it from the top levels of the way down to the county commission level. he went to harvard, i think, on the. i believe this second year that i was in the state senate, and then he came back and put my last time in the state senate. from there he went on to the an employee at the of the l.a. times because they offered him 50% increase in salary. that was something that he could not turn down. he had a wife and three kids to take care of. i've experienced this kind of things myself. but that was why when i got to washington i was not particularly afraid of jack nelson. one reason was jack, if you'll excuse the expression, i was not a crook. [laughter]
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[applause] i have not had as much opportunity to be correct as some people had. as italy had never been to washington before, did not have anything to conceal. i recognized him for his true worth. i said long before jack passed away that of all the newspaper reporters i have known, and they're probably not as many as anybody in georgia, he had the most integrity to end the most human personal courage and the most ability to expose the truth when it was difficult of any human being ever known. i am proud to have had jack nelson as my friend. [applause] >> take it away, ambassador. >> let me talk about another jack nelson. i really didn't know this jack nelson.
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[laughter] i mean, our problems in the civil rights movement was that people who were writing about us were making as the problems. jack never did that. i was just down in albany, just before christmas because it occurred to me that it was exactly 50 years ago that i was down there. i started driving around and remembering things. and the new york times wrote us out. he wrote the obituary of martin luther king, the non-violence was dead. it was rejected. martin luther king could not defeated sir laurie project. and the story really was that the kennedy administration wanted carl sanders to win in
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1962, and there was a federal injunction that was placed on martin luther king. so we weren't up against, you know, lori pritchett in georgia. we were really taking on the federal government, and we chose not to do that. and jack always seemed to understand that we were not the problem. i use to a quarrel with the new york times quite a bit because they were -- well, i think they were being polluted by information they were getting, distorted information that there were getting from hoover. and they would come to talk to us like we were the ones that created all these problems in the south. jack never did that. jack understood where the problem was, and he knew -- i mean, i always thought of him as a friend. and anything he ever asked any,
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i knew i could answer him candidly and truthfully and there would be no downside to it and there were quite a few -- actually, those days were rough on reporters. in 1964 in mississippi the abc reporter who is the first one to suggest that when the story was that these three civil-rights workers were in hiding and the students were doing this just to get publicity. abc reporter, paul good, who i associate with jack nelson, there were some good guys that do the self, that new the dirt and knew that we were not the problem. so we love them. and we felt that through them we could get our story told. no, i think that is still
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problem. we spend -- the press spends all of this time on analyzing the players, the democrats or the republicans and nobody is talking about the issues. well, that was a danger in the civil rights movement also. @booktv jack was not one of those that was trying to find the popularity, who was winning the popularity contest. black power going to defeat marked the the king? -- martin luther king? he would not write a story like that. he boarded on them. i guess i met him with carol and pall mall berra who work on my staff later on in congress. but even in washington he would always invite me to come to talk to -- well, he had a breakfast where all the staff put the los
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angeles times and anybody else that wants to come would come in, and we just talked very, very candidly and openly about anything and everything that was going on in washington that we knew about. and it was that kind of trust and integrity that i remembered. >> very good. [applause] >> he was that year, close friend of yours. terry commentary was the emcee at that time memorial service that you have for jack. a lot of the stories got told. a site, scoop nelson. >> if you want to read additional stories, you know, go to the site. what you tell us stories. >> i will. i have to observe that this panel, it was barbara, frank,
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and me. [laughter] then-president carter came along it is only sure politeness that i think i'm still here. [laughter] >> no way. >> i sort of feel like the rest of sandy koufax pitching staff. following these guys. but i did have the privilege and that jack well from several different perspectives. maybe just to relate a couple of them. first, as hanks said, i started as even more green. the front row can tell you. the atlanta constitution, when i was 21 years old in 1969. jack had just come out of the army. jack has started when he was 23 years old in 1952. these dates are kind of interesting because the book is called evolution of a southern
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reporter. at the word evolution is really an important part of the. jack was 23 years old. at 29 years old he won the pulitzer prize. in 1970. and 75, as has been mentioned, he went to the l.a. times. and in 70 he went to washington. the man. sixty-five. sixty-five. 6570. he was the gunmen during that time. he accomplished all of those wonderful stories. of course when i arrive there he was an atlanta. he was still based atlanta. he really wasn't in atlanta. he was traveling all over the place where the movement was at the time. not racially based stories. it was not a race story. they -- the last -- this island from the book. i never knew this.
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actually, i learned it from jean patterson. that the last story that jack covered for the constitution was in the rock. eisenhower and the federal troops desegregating central school. and gene patterson said that the memorial service, jack was never the same after that. you know, a common theme running through all of these stories was corruption in government, state officials, and competent doctors . the movement. then what he really did, and what i like to do in washington. he battled in justice and exposed. when he found and justice, when everett was committee exposed it. started when it was 22 and went to the time that he died. and that's why he believes so much in the first amendment. you know, there is an old myth that is shattered by this book, the way. the constitution. i think bill was here, wrote about this recently.
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a lot of -- lore was commenced gospel truth, we all believed in ejected not stay at the atlanta constitution because mr. carter and bill fields, the management would not give him a $5 raise. $5. stated as truce. president carter, you get a 50 percent raise. he was paid $10,000. he got $15,000 at the los angeles times. so it wasn't so bad as all that. and the other lohr was, of course, the athens effie's house , well-known to a lot of people. and jack in this book, and his voice, a wonderful story of the evening. i won't say any more about that. [laughter] >> i met check a couple of times, but he does a number
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that. i remember it immensely. in fact, one of them, mr. president, you will appreciate this. we don't need to go into it, but there was a certain canted for governor in 1966 that i was getting some attention to. we had a youth leader retreat. brought a lot of people all over the state to the american a top. downtown atlanta appeared you worked out of the plaza. i had a pilot. but jack came and spoke to that group. that wonderful crewcut. i actually have a picture summer of my sisters trying to find jack speaking at that. but my first real encounter is not the most pleasant. after president carter was elected president his attorney general, for whom i was working directly was in a very contentious hearing for
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confirmation, a senate hearing. reporters were going crazy. my instructions was no press could ask any questions to griffin bell during his confirmation hearing because he can make any record. of course jack is climbing over chairs trying to get to judge bell. i'm standing in his wake and making it difficult for him. and if of course he and the judge were old friends, but did not know all this is going on. i successfully blocked his former golden globe fighter from getting in the room. he and the last flick. the next day i get a call from bert lance, director of the allenby. i get a call from bob, counsel to the president, and i'm just waiting for the call to come from the president. i had mistreated their friend jack nelson. [laughter] and so it got a lot better after that. one of the things about jack that should be said as we look at that particular perspective
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of the carter years is that jack was a great bureau chief and built a great bureau. he said that the bank, and i just want to emphasize that because the one thing that always came across to me in all of our dealings with jack during that time, he was promoting that pirro, purring as reporters of that bureau. he did have this breakfast sessions, and they're famous. people use to run around the block not to see jack. coming over and having breakfast, mr. attorney-general. in, in fact a mother was a time he got judge belter and by chief justice burger who had never been to a breakfast. come and participate in the jack nelson was angeles times c-span, which had invited at one time. elevate the whole process even more. >> they came regularly. they were there every. >> that is the worst. >> the bureau. >> the idea that people can get
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together and have an honest discussion over breakfast and c-span can show it. [laughter] [applause] and nobody feels the need to sense of themselves. >> i'm going to close of last story, which is really a carter nelson story. in 1973 president carter was -- just to conclude his second year as governor of georgia. he had made a decision and communicated, untold damage to his family and very few friends that were his supporters that he was going to run for president and communicated over christmas. in february he chose -- he accepted an invitation to get to the national press club and make a speech. and congressman leon was in the audience, among other people. and jack nelson was asked to introduce this governor of georgia and did. and president made his first
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speech on the big national states trying to strike some of the themes from hamilton's memo, from his own riding of the book and other things that he was going to be trying to stress that he came out of a closet on the president's campaign. and ambassador young was in the audience, wrote that his place card at that lunch, this son of a gun is going to run for president. and nixon, corruption, zero base budget, all the things that you would hear about. and he closed with by quoting that the sole duty of politicians is to establish justice for the sinful world. in the chinese philosopher named one suit, give them an efficient the has one meal. if you teach and had a face chicken feed itself forever. well, the washington press corps
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, he apparently said peterson called jack and about three days to properly told and that he was going to run for president. jack, of course, serious enough never sorry about it. governor was concerned that maybe a little pretentious for a first term georgia governor to be quoting. at the end of his first speech to a national audience, jacks said, well, don't worry about it, nobody gives a damn any help. [laughter] that's a good story. [applause] >> i think the most generic thing about jack nelson's career is that to some degree he followed the pattern, except he was always a as has been pointed out, trying to find out where
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corruption was and where people were being cheated and exposing and correcting. but he didn't really get involved, as i mentioned earlier , and the civil rights movement until he went to little rock. he saw us standing there together. these by children who were being abused. and jack saw then the expression on the faces of those zero kids. in that thing that is when he decided that he needed to move into the arena of racial relations because that was the pending story, building a worldwide story that he had really not addressed before then because he had patterson, the constitution, the champions of human rights, civil rights at the time. bread before the sole rights movement started. but jack, once you get involved in a, he was still not permitted to do that.
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>> that's right. >> by the atlanta constitution. he had to move to a bigger arena, you might say, the l.a. times to do it. and that time there were ready to expand the newspaper to be competitive with the new york times. >> in fact, -- that's right, exactly. in fact much to your point, and this is not in the book, but in 1958, you will remember this down and tarot county, there was a front-page story in the "washington post" by robert e. lee baker who entertains his byline to robert e. baker because robert e. lee baker did not sound quite appropriate to be discussing how law enforcement had killed a couple of african-american man, james frazier, countrymen, will get quite a few others and how it was a place of great fear for blacks and that they could not go out on the streets tonight. and it portrayed a very, you know, frightful situation.
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the front page of the washington post. well, jack got sent down to a tarot county to do a story that defended the south, defended the integrity of the county and of the white establishment. i'm not saying that is what he was told to do, but that is the story he wrote. a reporter walking the streets here sees a number of african-americans out. no one is expressing to this reporter in the fear. well, they wouldn't read you know. but he later expressed great regret that he had not really seen that story for its validity. the "washington post" story and and sort of become the home or, you know, the hometown guy trying to portray the situation in a more positive light. and that is about the same time that he was undergoing this transformation. >> he laid up. >> that's right. that's right. now, the other thing, what does
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integrity me? what does it mean to be a journalist with integrity? particularly in that era. we have gone through time when journalists really so disassociate themselves from people in politics that they sort of lose touch with the political polls. and i understand why. you know, there are reasons that you don't want to be, you know, coopted. there are various reasons. and when you look at jack -- i want to talk about a question that he ask you, president carter, during your debate with president ford. and he was moderator. and jack, etc., probably predisposed to like the southern governor, i mean, a little southern loyalty. maybe, maybe not. in his opening question was, governor, despite the fact you have been running for president a long time now, many americans still seem to be uneasy about you. they don't feel that they know you were the people around you.
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many of the people around you, but we have known in georgia, relatively young and inexperienced. he went on and on and on. [laughter] exactly. so having said that, i want you to a flash forward to the camp david story, if you are familiar after you have a few people tell us, after the camp david accord. and yet there was one person you ended up trusting with anyone despite this. would you tell that? >> sure. well, i wanted to have a meeting with just a couple of reporters, so i had basically trusted. and to tell them exactly what did happen between me -- among me and anwar sadat.
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and to take some time to do it in detail. and so i invited jack and this other reporter over to the white house to have supper with me. and i spent a couple of hours. explaining to them what had actually happened and how i had maximum -- almost too much trust and did not trust me and all. and help sell was generous. things of this kind. i really told the truth about the whole situation. and then jack was taking -- i found out later, to accuse notes. suppose to be off the record. and then -- >> she was actually running into the restaurant. >> yeah. but i didn't realize it at the time. and if i remember correctly jack call me a day or two later and asked if he could reporter and said. and basically i said, well, if you don't screw me. [laughter]
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words to that effect. when i was president i used better language. >> don't embarrass me. >> it and know what the record said. anyway, the fact is, he did write what he wanted to. i did trust jack. and to be an honest person. in nine -- knocking the other reporters. but on every reporter in the world, the one of the reporters that i would have trusted with my life. i knew he was -- would tell the truth and that he was courageous enough to stand up for the truth, even under the most tremendous pressures. and he did that in almost every instance of his life, and i read the book a while back. remember that there were two or three times when jack did back down the story and regretted it
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until the end of his life. but those events were extremely rare. and sometimes he would defy even his top bosses -- being in danger of his own job to say i believe in this and this is what i'm writing. he is just a courageous man. >> let me say before we make a sentence of jack. [laughter] indeed, he was a man of great integrity. he was also a reporter, which sometimes meant pushing the envelope. and the story that i always liked, i don't know how many of you remember the orange byrd massacre, when state troopers cut down on unarmed students and wounded over two dozen and killed three of them -- four, sorry. and jack was dispatched to the story. when he got there he went immediately to hospital. he said to the hospital administrator that he was there
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-- he said, and jack nelson from the bureau, and it to look at the medical records of the students. and the administrator that he meant the fbi, which set new perfectly well that was the impression he was giving. he used to wear that pressed their cut in the trench coat that reporters just like fbi man because it afforded them a certain amount of protection sometimes in the field. anyway, he was given access to those medical records, and he showed that most of the students were wounded running away in the back. there were shot in the back or missiles of the feet. it was important break in a story to disprove what the troopers had been saying, that they had to find that the students had opened fire on them and have thrown molotov cocktails. so that is what i mean by pushing the envelope a little bit. >> he to five years after that he would tell that story on himself. >> that sounds like a saint to
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me. [laughter] >> i think later it would have been considered inappropriate to do such things when we writing her book. he was reluctant to go back and knowledge of hit and that. now he has done it again, and glad to see that. ambassador young, the orange byrd massacre is one example of jack bringing investigative reporting to the civil rights story. the other is the fbi involvement in the killing. the meridian -- i mean, the attempted -- this set up by the fbi that led to the arrest of tawny terence, the klansman, murder in athens. tell me, if you would come ambassador, the impact that having that kind of news coverage on the movement had pawned sort of the national understanding of what was going on. >> well, we really understood the press has educational media, educational tv.
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there was -- everything that had been going on that we were involved in had been going on for a hundred years. and it was very hard to get out. now, i was -- because this is 1963, i was reminded that fred shuttles word came to get martin luther king on the 17th of december to promise that he would come to birmingham this year. but that is because on the 14th or 15th fred's church had been bombed for the third time in 1962. there had been 60 bombings of homes that had received no publicity. and fred shuttles worth was quite frank that he needed martin luther king to come over
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there to get any attention to this injustice. now, one of my other good friends, a guy who had been with us in the movement from cameraman was quite blunt with me about a, saying, look, you're going to have to cut me some slack because i have to keep the camera on dr. king because if they kill him and i don't get a picture of it, i lose my job. no, it was almost that cold and analysis where martin luther king knew that he was being used to focus on this injustice. and he did it willingly. at the same time, guys like jack nelson understood that. and the cameraman was lawrence pierce who had been with the
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friend of martin's since montgomery. and so it was -- but they could not have been change had it not been for the press. and a birmingham put martin's arrest on page 34. but the reason we had demonstrations early in the morning, so that they could fly the film to new york by 2:00 in the afternoon and it could make the 6:00 news. and it was -- there was -- it was a deliberate need for us to share with the press to get the story out, the real strategy behind it. i mean, it was part of the message.
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and we knew that we did not have the television more than three minutes. but dr. king used to say that, you know, you have three minutes on three networks. at that time that was worth a million dollars of publicity ever get. and so it was -- well, there was a deliberate offering of risk was incurred because we felt like we could -- we had to trust there was nobody else that we could get the story out. we could not even get mass meetings announced on black radio stations. it was -- i mean none of the south was nailed down real tight
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except for these incidents. and coming back, the reason i was -- i mean, i volunteered to testify at the hearing because i knew that griffin bell was the one who got both sides of the school desegregation in the koran, and said, look, you all know more about atlanta's schools than anybody else. you'll work this out. when you get through call me and i'll make it a court order. i mean, there was -- there was a trust, and the realization that this was a real problem that had to be faced, regardless of the risk that was taken.
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now, compare that with right now where i mean, people are writing about stories in such a way that -- well, they do better reporting on the falcons and @booktv income more in-depth reporting on football games. >> we like our falcons. >> but to your point earlier, too, that -- and those who read the book, i would point you to the chapter on bogalusa. and no one ever would say that the press was more on the front lines of danger that the people in the movement themselves. >> there would. >> okay. you can say that. good. but read a chapter in you will see jack and you will see that famous figure that he used in people's just when klansmen were
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threatening jack and jean roberts and several others with their life, they would invite them out to a klan rally and then the plants people started coming in saying, they are not right will your sink. and there were surrounding them. they had to call for a flying wedge to get jack and jean and these other people out. it only happened because she was in the chest of a guy saying, if you don't get us out of here alive you're not calling to like what you read in los angeles times to mark. anything else here? >> we have about four minutes. >> one quick factoid. an important development out of the civil rights movement these to be the press, of course, was the famous case in new york times versus sullivan decided, the ad in the new york times and the libel suit was brought by a public official in alabama. and it redefined constitutional law for the first amendment.
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that is an important byproduct. >> in organizations like the reporters committee for the freedom of the press that he helped create and some. [inaudible question] this. >> thank you. [applause] and i'm going to take the last two minutes here. jack in as many of you know, in 1959 when down to the state hospital in milledgeville. he found horrible conditions. he found a patient abuse. he found people misrepresenting their skills and their licenses and their medical know-how. ..

Book TV
CSPAN January 26, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

Education. Non-fiction books and authors.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Atlanta 24, Jack Nelson 21, Washington 16, Georgia 14, Carter 8, Los Angeles 7, New York 6, Fbi 4, Martin Luther King 4, Barbara 3, Jack 3, Mississippi 3, Emory 3, Martin Luther 3, Marvin Griffin 3, L.a. 3, Jackson 2, Griffin Bell 2, Expos 2, Falcons 2
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